At the current rate, it will take 18 years to vaccinate 67% of South Africans

Media Hack Collective’s new Vaccination Calculator shows that it will take South Africa over 18 years to vaccinate 67% of the population at the current rate.

In the beginning of the year, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the government’s aim is to vaccinate 67% of the population against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.

This was needed to reach herd immunity. “We knew early on the only way to fight Covid-19 would be to achieve herd immunity through vaccination,” Mkhize said.

South Africa started its vaccination programme on 17 February 2021 after 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was distributed across South Africa.

Since the start of the programme started last month, 147,753 vaccinations have been administered. This equates to an average of 5,910 vaccinations a day.

While this is good news for healthcare workers who received a vaccine, it is much slower than initially planned.

To reach the 67% target, around 40 million South Africans have to be vaccinated by the end of the year.

If vaccinations are done every day for the rest of the year, it will require 137,000 vaccinations per day to reach the government’s target.

Considering South Africa’s current rate of 5,910 vaccinations a day, it is highly unlikely that the target will be met.

Media Hack Collective’s tool shows that it will take 18 years, 6 months, and 8 days to vaccinate 67% of South Africa’s population at this rate.

Mkhize has tacitly admitted that the country will miss its targets to vaccinate 1.5 million people by the end of March, and 40 million people by December.

With only 15 days remaining in March, the country will need to vaccinate over 80,000 people per day to reach its monthly target.

South Africa does not have the vaccines or manpower to make this happen.

Mkhize recently told parliament the annual vaccination target is constantly reviewed and that it depends on vaccine doses being delivered by the manufacturing companies.

South Africa has secured over 40 million vaccine doses through Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and the Covax group. These include:

  • 12 million doses in total from the global COVAX facility.
  • 9 million vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson.
  • 20 million vaccine doses from Pfizer.

Only a small number of these vaccines have, however, been delivered to date. 2 million doses are expected from the COVAX facility this month, while large deliveries from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will start in the second quarter of 2021.

The vaccines are likely to be too late to prevent a third wave in South Africa, which the DA said points to a failure from the government.

“It is becoming apparent that South Africa’s vaccine rollout has failed before it has even started,” the Democratic Alliance said.

The image below, from the Media Hack Collective Vaccination Calculator, shows the time it will take to vaccinate 67% of South Africa’s population at the current vaccination rate.

Vaccination Time

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At the current rate, it will take 18 years to vaccinate 67% of South Africans